The best and brightest students from 24 states and territories and four countries attended speeches by world renowned leaders, presented their own research, and joined in hunger relief efforts.
130 of the top students in the country were selected to attend the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute Oct. 13-15, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa, during the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium, which drew 1,400 people from 75 countries to discuss the world’s hunger and food security issues. The World Food Prize celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, and was founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug in order to recognize and inspire great achievements in improving the quality, quantity and availability of food in the world.
In order to be considered for participation, students from across Iowa and the United States researched global food security issues in the country of their choice, and then submitted papers on those critical topics, which they also presented to renowned experts and scientists.
At the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, the 130 high school student participants had the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of internationally renowned World Food Prize Laureates and leaders in food, agriculture and international development.
Global Youth Institute attendees participated in sessions featuring:
• 2011 World Food Prize Laureates John Agyekum Kufuor, the former president of Ghana, and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil
• Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, which is currently leading hunger-fighting efforts in the Horn of Africa
• Former African presidents, including Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Sir Dawda Jawara of The Gambia and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, speaking in an African leadership roundtable
• The CEOs of many of the world’s major agribusiness companies: ADM, Deere & Co., DuPont, Monsanto, Novozymes and Syngenta
• Several international agricultural ministers, speaking in a policy and government panel with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Jose Graziano da Silva, Director-General Elect of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization
• Howard G. Buffett, President of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which unveiled its first major advocacy report on hunger in Africa
• Researchers and non-profit leaders from around the globe
Each student presented a paper on the theme “The Millennium Goals: Agriculture to Trade” and participated in roundtable discussions with experts in industry, science, academia and policy. Research for the paper focused on examining major issues in global agriculture, development and food security in other countries. Participants also helped with a hands-on service project packaging meals for Outreach International, a hunger-fighting organization that serves people in Iowa and abroad, toured Syngenta Seeds, Inc. in Slater, Iowa, and took part in an Oxfam Hunger Banquet to experience the realities of global hunger and poverty.
Created by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug and Iowa businessman John Ruan, The Global Youth Institute today receives major support from Clay Mathile and the Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition. The program was developed to challenge and inspire participating student-teacher teams to identify ways of alleviating hunger, and to expose the students to opportunities and careers in food, agriculture and natural resource disciplines.
At the Global Youth Institute, students and teachers interacted with fellow participants from Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and the Virgin Islands, as well as Bulgaria, Mexico, Russia and Serbia.
Participants also viewed the 2011 World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony that honored former president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and former president of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor. They were recognized for their personal commitment and visionary leadership while serving as the presidents of their countries, creating and implementing government policies to alleviate hunger and poverty. Coverage of the 2011 Laureate Award Ceremony is available at www.worldfoodprize.org
The World Food Prize Global Youth Institute was held in conjunction with the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium, one of the world’s foremost conferences on international agriculture and food policy.
Educators and students interested in participating should visit www.worldfoodprize.org/youth
and select their state on the map for more information.